Drone start-up TechEagle to part ways with Zomato, venture into health care

Zomato carried out a test delivery last June at one of the remote sites approved by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation | Representative image
TechEagle, the drone manufacturer and consultant start-up Zomato acquired in December 2018, has decided to part ways with the food delivery firm and said it will venture into the healthcare sector.

“It was well thought and a mutual decision to part ways with Zomato, (and we were) in discussion since December 2019. However, the Covid-19 crisis accelerated the growth of healthcare sector and no other time could have been better for TechEagle venturing into contactless medical and essentials delivery via drones which will see hockey stick growth in near future,” said Vikram Singh Meena, founder and CEO of TechEagle.

TechEagle was founded in 2015 by Meena when he was a student at IIT-Kanpur. Since then, his young venture had been actively involved in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, with prime focus on custom-made drones.

TechEagle now aims to create an on-demand drone delivery network in India for package delivery starting with healthcare and essentials. For this, it is already working on projects like ‘Medicine from The Sky Project’ with the Telangana Government and World Economic Forum. 

“TechEagle is in talks with various healthcare providers and logistic companies, to help them build a network of ‘package delivery drones’ to make the supply chain and last-mile delivery efficient and seamless,” said Meena.

Anshu Abhishek, co-founder and COO of TechEagle Innovations Pvt Ltd, said that in the next 12-18 months when vaccines and treatment become available for Covid-19, there would be a scarcity of supply amid growing global demand. 

“Contactless drone delivery would complement the common mode of delivery for vaccines, medicines, and supplies. This would help to keep people at home and manage scarce supplies for health workers,” said Abhishek.

TechEagle was part of Zomato's plan towards drone-based food delivery in India, creating a hub- to- hub delivery network powered by hybrid multi-rotor drones.

Zomato carried out a test delivery last June at one of the remote sites approved by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The "payload" carried by the drone during the test was a food item. 

The unmanned aircraft system (UAS) market in India is projected to touch $886 million by 2021, while the global market is likely touch $ 21.47 billion, according to a Ministry of Civil Aviation report from last year.

Media reports on Friday reported that Meena had parted ways with Zomato, but the Gurugram-based food delivery firm will continue with its drone delivery plans. 

The DGCA last month gave permission to 13 Indian drone consortia to conduct experimental Below Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations in order to submit log reports to the aviation regulator by September-end.

"DGCA’s recent permissions to begin testing drone delivery is great – we are going to move forward with our testing as soon as it is safe for our team to travel to the designated testing locations," said a Zomato spokesperson on Friday. 

They added, "While we are thankful to Vikram for building a strong engineering foundation for our drones team at Zomato, we are no longer aligned about our future goals and have decided to operate as separate entities. Vikram and his team are supremely talented and we wish nothing but the best for them."

Zomato doesn't own any equity in TechEagle Innovations Pvt Ltd and the firm decided to part ways from Zomato because of the vision misalignment, say sources.  

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel